Portland, Ore., officials filed a lawsuit Monday to shut down Uber there just days after the ride-sharing service launched in defiance of city officials.
The lawsuit, filed in the Oregon Circuit Court, claims Uber is operating in violation of Portland city regulations and asks the court to order Uber stop operations, in compliance with a cease and desist order issued earlier Monday by the city's transportation director. The action comes three days after the low-cost UberX service launched in Portland.
"Our main concern is public health and safety, because the state invested in the cities the responsibility to do that," Mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. "Beyond that, though, is the issue of fairness. Taxi cab companies follow rules on public health and safety. So do hotels and restaurants and construction companies and scores of other service providers. Because everyone agrees: good regulations make for a safer community. Uber disagrees, so we're seeking a court injunction."
Uber, which continues to operate in Portland, said it was hopeful that a warm welcome it has Portland residents will translate into acceptance by city officials
"Their support illustrates why it's time to modernize Portland transportation regulation," Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend said in a statement. "In less than 4 hours, nearly 7,000 Portland residents have signed the petition in support of Uber and we remain hopeful that the city will listen to Portlanders who want safe, reliable, hassle-free ride options now."
Uber, which operates in more than 250 cities in 50 countries, uses a smartphone app to connect riders with part-time drivers of private cars, oftentimes for less than the cost of a traditional taxi or car service.
Uber requires drivers to have background checks, $1 million in insurance and inspections, but that hasn't deflected resistance to its launch plans from government regulators and taxi commissions, which argue that on-demand ride services don't adhere to the same regulations as traditional taxis. Ride-sharing apps have been hit with cease-and-desist orders inand , and resistance to Uber and chief rival Lyft has also , San Francisco, Chicago, , , and .
Last month, Uberover what it called "confusion" about its business model, as it looks for a legal way to resume business in the state.
In response to news of Uber's planned launch, Portland transportation officials warned last week the city is prepared to issue civil and criminal penalties against Uber and its drivers for "operating without required permits and inspections." Uber drivers caught illegally picking up passengers in Portland could be fined up to $2,250 and face arrest and possible jail time, according to The Oregonian, which first reported the service's impending launch in Portland.
The San Francisco-based company announced Thursday that it had. This brings its valuation to between $35 billion and $40 billion and makes it the world's highest-valued venture-backed company. Uber plans to use the funding to expand into new markets in the Asia-Pacific region.
Updated at 6 p.m. PT with Uber comment.